A special thank you to the Cummings Foundation for supporting HLA's Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids!  


Many children in, or at risk of entering, our juvenile justice system end up there because of unmet mental health needs. HLA’s Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids (MHAP for Kids) has a proven track record of significantly improving the lives of these children and their families while reducing unnecessary costs for the state. 

We are also happy to announce that we are now a statewide program and serve youth and families in every county across the Commonwealth. Review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to learn more.

Is your child/student/client experiencing difficulty accessing mental health services?

Give us a call at 617.275.2919 for an intake or use our toll-free number at 855.218.3965.



MHAP for Kids embeds a specially-trained attorney in the state's Family Resource Centers (FRCs) located in Boston (Roxbury), Brockton, Holyoke, Hyannis, Lowell, Lynn, Pittsfield, New Bedford, Quincy, and Worcester. MHAP for Kids sites serve children in every county.


What services does MHAP for Kids provide?

  • Begin or improve special education services
  • Secure and/or coordinate community-based mental health services
  • Collaborate with Dept. of Children and Families, Dept. of Mental Health, and Dept. of Developmental Services
  • Advocate for general education accommodations
  • Assist with health insurance coverage


Proven Results

Boston University's School of Public Health conducted a 2-year study on the efficacy of MHAP for Kids. Some key highlights:

  • Improved school attendance
  • Decreased use of emergency mental health services by children
  • Decreased inpatient hospitalizations of children
  • Decreased children's stays in residential facilities
  • Decreased children's stays in emergency shelters
  • Significantly improved overall mental health of children
  • Significantly reduced parental rates of depression
  • Significantly decreased parental stress

Read the full report here


Watch Avante's Story:


Avante's Story from Tira Khan, Sugarhouse Media on Vimeo.

Watch Tristian's Story:

Tristan's Story from Tira Khan, Sugarhouse Media on Vimeo.


MHAP for Kids is generously supported by grants from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, the Cummings Foundation, the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, the Theodore Edson Parker Foundationthe Fish Family Foundation, the Essex County Community Foundation, the Harold Brooks Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, the Gardiner Howland Shaw Foundation, the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, and the Bennett Family Foundation.

Funding for MHAP for Kids is also provided by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the Massachusetts Probation Service. Generous support for this work has also been provided by Boston Children’s Hospital and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and many more corporate and individual sponsors.